Reflections of a young working Singaporean mother

I just spent the last two hours watching a women’s dialogue centered on living, working, raising children and retiring in Singapore. As a very young working mother of three myself, you can be sure this issue is of great personal interest to me.

Things I want to give thanks for -Despite the unplanned pregnancy, I was able eventually to get good support from my family, love from my husband, strength from God and three lovely children who make and break my day.

I can attest to the possibility of having it all – career, love, children and the odd R&R if we can choose to have less expectations, sacrifice a bit more and learn to be contented.

I don’t think anyone can ever be ready to be a parent, you just either choose to have children or not. Simple as that. Life has an amazing way of working itself out as long as you are willing to work hard at it.

Things that I wish could be better – It would be quite cliche to say I want to spend more time with my children because in fact if I really wanted to, I could stop work, take up part time work or just go home straight after work.

The problem is that for those parents with really young and demanding children who make a huge mess of your living room and take up whatever personal space you cherish, life just isn’t the same again. And that is one of the sacrifices I can’t bear to make.

I don’t think I have enough whatever you call it in me, to spend every single moment of the day with my children (aged 5, 2 and 7 months), seven days a week. Sometimes I am already tired by mid Saturday.

So I work. Work gives me a different kind of satisfaction, an exposure to knowledge and opportunities to explore my various abilities. A life that that is my own. And then I feel guilty for doing so because I should be focusing on my children instead. For goodness sakes, you brought them into this world!

On the flip side, I realised that with most other things, having a career is a phase in your life. This too shall pass. Having children however is for life – for eternity too if you subscribe to that theology. This gives you a very different perspective towards your career.

You can be outstanding and earn a lot of money but in the end, what counts are the relationships that follow you for life. I want my children to be proud of me as a mother who is there for them as much as a woman who has made the world a better place.

I don’t want them to know me as my very rich successful mum but my mummy who made a difference in my life and those of other people as well.

Because I know I suck at the caregiving part of motherhood, I outsource it to their grandparents and my domestic helper. What I am good at such as reading stories, educating them, listening to their stories, playacting and going out, this I do to the best of my ability.

Yeah I know those are the fun parts of having children but I never said I am a good mother anyway.

Another area I wish to do better is with regards to my own mother and mother-in-law. I do wish to show my sincere appreciation to them for helping me bring my children to and from school and feeding them their dinner.

But their attitude towards these responsibilities makes me feel so irritable. They behave like they had to help me, not because they want to out of love for their grandchildren and I hate having to feel like I owe them a huge debt for this favour. Do we also have reluctant grandparents?

Things to be considering – Definitely looking towards reduced working hours. Maybe one or two hours less per day so that I can relieve the grandparents of their duties and to have a little time to volunteer even.

Eventually hope to go overseas as a family unit. Yes that is still very much in the pipeline although I have totally no clue how it is going to materialise. By faith I suppose.

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